If you’re an athlete or work with athletes, you’ve probably heard the term “sports medicine.” Many assume that the primary practitioners in this field are either physicians or physical therapists. But actually, there are quite a few more areas of healthcare dedicated to fitness and treating or preventing injuries in athletes. Here are some you should know about:
- Sports Chiropractor
Sports chiropractors have an additional certification on top of their doctoral degrees. That means they do everything your regular local chiropractor does; they’re back pain specialists, and many people see a chiropractor for neck pain or shoulder pain, as well. But sports chiropractors also are experts in biomechanical analysis, and can treat sports-specific injuries to get athletes back on the field again as soon as possible.
- Sports Podiatrist
A sports podiatrist treats foot injuries, of course, but also often focuses on how to boost performance or prevent injury. For instance, a sports podiatrist could analyze what lower limb functions were preventing an athlete from jumping higher, starting faster, etc. A sports podiatrist is also the most qualified kind of doctor to address chronic problems, such as tendonitis, which plague many athletes.
- Athletic Trainers
People often mistake athletic trainers for personal trainers, which is a shame because these are actually the people who do the bulk of the work in the world of sports medicine. Athletic trainers go to college for their degrees, and then must pass stringent exams in order to be certified; that’s a far cry from personal trainers, who often have no certification or medical background whatsoever. Athletic trainers are generally the people at practice or on the sidelines so that if an athlete gets hurt, there will be someone to provide immediate treatment.
Have you visited any of these kinds of practitioners before? Would you think to find a chiropractor after being injured in a sports accident, or visit a podiatrist? Discuss your thoughts in the comments.